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By Ochuko Akuopha, UGHELLI

INDIGENES of oil-rich Ovewve and Opherin Agbarha-Otor, Ughelli North Local Government Area, Delta State, yesterday, shut down the flow station, pigging manifold and other facilities in the Eriemu oil field over the abandonment of 11-kilometre road project embarked upon by Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, in the communities.

Protesting women and youths of the communities barricaded the communities’ axis of the Ughelli/Agbarha-Otor Road about 4 a.m., causing gridlock on the road as vehicles and travellers were stranded while others trekked long distances to get to their destinations.

Displaying placards, which bore various inscriptions such as “NDDC, come and complete our roads”, “Good road is our right as host communities”,  “11-kilometre road is too small for FG not to complete,” among others, the protesters who also shut down the Lat Units in the oil field, lamented the untold hardship and adverse socio-economic impact the bad state of the roads were inflicting on them.

Speaking during the protest, Chairman, Community Development Committee, CDC, of the oil field, Chief Moses Oruruore, said NDDC had in 2010 awarded two roads “with one running from Otokutu community to Owevwe Street, Agbarha-Otor and the other from Suniko community junction, through Opherin community to Emever Agbarha road” to a contractor, adding that the projects had been abandoned till date.

He said: “The contractor is saying that he has not been paid and that he will mobilise back to site when he is paid. We have written series of letters to NDDC and relevant authorities on the abandonment of the road but we have not had any response from them, so the facilities will remain shut down until attention is given to the roads.”

Also, spokesman of the CDC, Vote Iboyi, lamented that the communities where oil exploration had been going on since 1961 have nothing to show for their huge contributions to the wealth of the country.

“We embarked on this peaceful protest to achieve our goal of having the road completed. Let the Federal Government complete our roads for us. This is a time for election and people are spending N100 million to buy forms for them to become president of the country, yet our roads are abandoned,” he said.

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